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How often do you find yourself running around trying to find a birthday present an hour before the party starts?

benenden-logo-cut-out-750Or discovering you’ve paid over the odds for an insurance renewal because you forgot to shop around first?

It’s these little things that can sometimes make you feel that you haven’t got a handle on life.

But you can get back in control of your life this year, says life coach Elizabeth Juffs.

Brought to you in association with York-based health mutual Benenden here are eight tips to put you back in the driving seat for 2017.

1. Tidy for 15 minutes a day

A quarter of an hour spent sorting through what’s in your in-tray or moving children’s toys back to their bedrooms can make all the difference to tasks such as these feeling overwhelming. “Focus on why you want things to be tidy – because it helps you think or gives you a sense of space – and it will help you to achieve it,” says Juffs.

2. Pay in advance for exercise

Pay up, get fit. Photograph: tanjashaw

Physical activity can be tricky to fit in, but if you pay for lessons in advance, you’ll find you work harder to make the time. Improved fitness improves your mental health and gives you more energy to tackle each day.

3. Be in control of passwords

Password amnesia, the curse of the modern age. Photograph: farrelnobel

Technology figures in everyone’s life, but how you stay in control of it will differ from person to person. “Find a process that works for you,” says Juffs.

That could be using an app that remembers all your passwords, or it could mean writing them down on a piece of paper that is taped under a drawer.

4. Have a family calendar

Don’t forget you’ve got that thing on the 9th… Photograph: tigerlily713

If you live in a household where conflicting plans can be a problem, have a central diary and a rule that if something’s not on the calendar, it’s not a fixture. Keep a blank page next to the calendar to write down the ‘weekend bucket list’ so when there is some free time, you have plenty of ideas for how to enjoy it.

Read lots more tips to boost you and your family’s wellbeing at the Benenden website

5. One in, one out

A photo posted by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on

If life feels cluttered, you probably have too much stuff. Make space for new things coming into the house by getting rid of old – one in, one out. This works for most shopping, but especially clothes.

6. Three things a day

You don’t have to fill your to-do list. Photograph: GregMontani

Don’t write an endless to-do list. “Have goal thresholds,” advises Juffs. “Make time for three things you know you will achieve, rather than having a whole list of things you couldn’t hope to accomplish in a month, let alone a day.”

7. Everything in its place

A photo posted by Neat Method ® (@neatmethod) on

If possessions have a place to go, they’re more likely to make it back there and you won’t spend hours hunting for the Sellotape, as you will know it’s in your stationery drawer. Combine this with the first suggestion in the list – tidy for 15 minutes a day – and you’ll be sorted.

8. Set phone reminders for planning ahead

Let your phone do the nagging… Photograph: Oliur Rahman

Spend an hour one evening setting up phone (or diary) reminders for everything from renewing insurance to sending your aunt’s birthday card. Don’t set them for the day, but a week in advance so you can do the research and buy the card. That way, you won’t be running around at the last minute – well, not without a reminder first.